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Accommodations can be scarce during festivals and also in June and July, so be sure to book your hotel ahead of time if you plan to visit then. Many guidebooks only list a handful of hideous backpacker haunts such as the MCA Guesthouse. Western package tours are quite predictable: older groups stay at the Landscape, younger groups at Jim's Tibetan, and backpackers at the Australian-owned Jade Emu. Unfortunately the construction work at Wumiao Concourse is now into its 3rd year and is still making stays at guesthouses on Hong Long Jing such as Feng Yue Shan Xue unbearable.

A Home Away from Home -- Yunnan province is home to two of the fastest growing new residential property markets in the country -- Dali and Kunming -- in terms of month-to-month price increases. In 2009, the cities of Hangzhou and ?rumqi recorded the fastest growth in new residential prices at 4.7 and 4% respectively, with the scenic town of Dali coming in third at 2.8%. Kunming came in fifth at 1.7%, just ahead of Shanghai's 1.6% growth. In a reflection of this growth, a number of long-term rental companies for visitors have sprung up in the area. Our favorite so far is the villa rental service offered at www.rentahouse-yunnan.com. The French owner has properties in both Lijiang and Dali that make a pleasant change from copycat hotels. We especially like the "Yellow House" off Renmin Lu and the aptly named "Love Nest" down towards East Gate.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.